The Deer and Doe Datura is a really popular pattern and so many people have posted pictures of their versions online. I have spent hours looking at them. Seriously, hours! I just love this pattern. Some people are so inventive with their use of fabric and make really effective colour and pattern choices. Sadly, I do not, but I live in hope that one day inspiration will strike.
I have a confession to make. I didn’t manage to buy this pattern, I drafted my own version. There are a few suppliers listed in the UK but nobody seemed to have any in stock and I’m too impatient to wait for one to be posted from France. A few months ago I made myself a block for a top from draping my tailor’s dummy, and all the tops I have made since then have been adapted from this. This one involved more changes than most, though.
True to my indecisive nature choosing fabric posed its usual dilemmas so I ended up buying enough for two tops. In fairness, I would have gone back to buy more to make a second one anyway, so actually, I saved money on fuel.
The first one I made was the peach and cream Datura version with the cut out triangles. I have read that the bodice construction was causing some confusion as most of us have been used to turning both pieces the right side out, machine sewing one shoulder seam and then hand sewing the lining to finish. But by only turning one piece the right side out and inserting it into the other piece, you can machine both seams and sew the seam allowances flat to finish them neatly, then when you turn the other piece the right side out it’s finished with no hand sewing to do – brilliant! This is going to be my preferred technique for lined bodices in the future. The recommended way of turning under the lower bodice lining to finish is the way I always do it except that I would normally hand hem it instead of machine top sewing from the right side. This is actually the first completely machine sewn garment I’ve made and that includes the buttons. I like the finish you get with hand sewing so this is slightly outside my comfort zone but I am happy with the results. I chose not to put in buttonholes as I can get the top on and off without them and it eliminates the worry of someone undoing them without me noticing which could be embarrassing – and drafty.
Patrick Grant of The Great British Sewing Bee made a comment last week about a top with buttons down the back needing to stay closed at the bottom but I have made mine to separate at the bottom as I think it looks much nicer especially when worn with a short cardigan. So I made the back of the green and white one the same way and found these gorgeous green and diamante buttons to complete it. They cost about the same amount as the fabric but I think they’re quite cute and worth it.
I thought the peter pan collar version might be easier to do than the triangle cut out version as I found it fairly tricky to attach the bias binding in the right place (it would have been quite simple if I had just put it on my tailor’s dummy to pin it, but for some reason I didn’t think of that at the time). However, with the second version it was hard to judge where to sew when I got to the middle of the collar so I ended up drawing a guide line in tailor’s chalk. Again, if I had thought to do that in the first place it would have been very straight forward. Still, I’ll know next time.
These tops do take a little time to make but I just love them so much I will be making more of them very soon.